Several Shades of Why by J Mascis
Turn your stick in to my soul
Hasn’t changed much getting old
Former Dinosaur Jr. front man and the original ‘indie rock guitar hero’ J. Mascis gives us his first ever solo work with “Several Shades of Why”. The album was anything but predictable for those who are familiar with Dinosaur Jr. Because here we have the face of one of the most (in)famously loud bands of all time bringing us one of the prettiest minimalist folk-rock albums in recent memory. Where there once was a wall of seemingly impenetrable sound burying Mascis’ Neil Young like wail, there’s now just an intimate acoustic guitar and the gravely voice of a much more introspective and mature Mascis. During his Dinosaur Jr. days the notoriously aloof Mascis rarely let you in on what he was thinking. Being in touch with your feelings didn’t really fit in with the whole slacker/savant thing he had going for him. Now older, J finally seems to be willing to open up a little and show some vulnerability. This album is less like Dinosaur Jr. and more like the album that “Eels” has been trying to make for the last few years. Leave it to Mascis to get it right on the first try.
Several Shades of Why: 5 out of 5.
Lives and Treasure by Acrylics
Not really sure how to categorize Acrylics sound. There is a bit of 80’s synth pop sound on songs like the opener “Counting Sheep”, but in general it’s neither trendy nor retro. I guess its like an alternative dark pop music of sorts. A good portion of the album feels sort of mysterious and slightly sexy, but then other parts are more quaint and acoustic. In general it’s a hard album to get into the flow of. I do like the voices of the duo a lot. Moly Shea has a really clean voice that pops out from the rest of the music, not that unlike Neko Case (especially on the track Nightwatch), while Jason Klaubers vocal delivery is considerably more gentle. The two really compliment eachother, but I tend to prefer when Shea takes the lead. After giving the album a couple of listens there is really not that much that stands out to me. The previously mentioned Counting Sheep and Nightwatch are both really cool tracks, but a lot of the album is less than riveting. There is just very little on Lives and Treasure that I needed to hear again and again.
Lives and Treasure: 2.5 out of 5